Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Oakland County Child Killer Mystery

A vicious child-killer stalked Oakland County in Michigan during 1976-1977. Authorities are certain of a connection in the deaths of four victims, the first being Mark Stebbins, 12, who was abducted in Ferndale while walking to his home on February 13th, 1976. His body was found in a parking lot six days afterwards, his corpse meticulously cleaned. Stebbins had been sexually assaulted and smothered to death. On December 12th, twelve-year-old Jill Robinson was abducted in Royal Oak and her body found in Troy. Though no sexual assault was evident and the girl had been killed by a shotgun blast, she had also been scrubbed clean before her disposal.

The next certain victim was Kristine Mihelich, 10, who vanished in Berkely on January 2nd, 1977, and her corpse located nineteen days later in Franklin Village. Like the others, her body had been cleaned after her killer suffocated her death. The last of the series seems to be Timothy King, 11, who went missing on March 11th in Birmingham and found dead in a ditch near Livonia with his body scoured clean, his nails manicured, and his clothes freshly washed and ironed. King was also sexually assaulted before his sad death. By this point the press had picked up on the odd signature of the killings, dubbing the unknown perpetrator "The Babysitter" due to his apparent post-mortem care of the victims.

Other killings that occurred in the area at the same time have been tentatively linked to the series. Cynthia Cadieux, 16, was abducted and bludgeoned to death on January 15th, 1976. Missing from Roseville she was discovered nude in Bloomfield Township the next day. Just five days after Cadieux's disappearance Sheila Shrock was raped and shot dead at her home in Birmingham. Jane Allen, 13, was murdered by carbon monoxide poisoning after accepting a ride in Royal Oak and was found in Miamisburg, Ohio, on August 11th, 1976. The 1972 slaying of teenager Donna Serra in Ray Township has also been mentioned as possibly being connected to the string of murders.

Though the body count is disputable, there is one thing for certain. At least one serial killer plied his trade in the normally quiet communities of Oakland County, never to be identified. A long-standing suspect who was killed in a 1981 auto accident has since been cleared of involvement by DNA testing, leaving investigators with little hope of solving this baffling case.

The Oakland County Child Killer terrorized families in the mid 1970s, abducting and murdering at least 4 children.

Now, some 30 years later, investigators have learned that the Oakland County Child Killer Task Force plans to interview a 65-year-old prison inmate named Michael Dean Grant.

Grant is currently locked up in the Indiana Department of Correction Westville Correctional Center which is located in northwest Indiana, for killing a child. Detectives want to know if he had other victims.

Chip St. Clair is Michael Dean Grant’s son, and he believes there’s a chance that his father is the killer that police have been looking for.

"He was a child murderer on the run, during the exact time, in the exact area, that these crimes happened," St. Clair explained.

Some investigators have learned that in 1968, Grant was the prime suspect in the mysterious death of his ex-wife’s 18-month-old son, but he was never charged with that crime.

Grant was arrested 2 years later, in his home town of Elkhart, Indiana, for killing a 3-year-old boy.

According to the police report, Michael Dean Grant had been babysitting his girlfriend’s 2 young sons. Police say during the boys’ evening bath, Grant savagely beat the children, ultimately killing the 3-year-olds.

Chip St. Clair told investigators, "I spoke to one of the officers, he was the first to arrive at the scene of the crime. 30-years-later, he remembers it as if it had happened yesterday. He said it was the most brutal crime he had seen in his life."

Grant was sent to prison, but his new girlfriend, Chip’s mother, helped him escape. Chip says his mother and Michael Grant changed their identities, and moved to Southfield, Michigan, around the time of the child killings.

Chip says he had to endure years of abuse at the hands of his convicted child killing father.

"He would grab me and slam me up against the wall. He would choke me," Chip said. "He’d get violent if you put too many ice cubes in his glass of diet coke, or too few ice cubes, or if the vacuum lines weren’t exactly straight, or if the pillows weren’t fluffed."

In 1998, Chip learned the truth about his father, and sent him back to prison. Since then, Chip has come across some strange information that might provide clues in the child killings.

"I’ve had somebody come forward since I’ve been on national media, who expressed their anguish with seeing my father’s face on TV. They said, ‘That was the man who tried to abduct me back in the winter of ’76-’77. I am positive.’"

Chip says shortly after that alleged abduction attempt in Warren, the 3rd victim of the Oakland County Child Killer was found.

Chip also says bizarre items found inside a trunk in his parents’ home raised questions, including baby teeth, locks of hair, and photographs of other children that Chip doesn’t recognize.

"Was there another child that they had in their care, at some point?" Chip wondered. Chip doesn’t know how it all ads up, he just wants to help detectives find out if Michael Dean Grant is the Oakland County Child Killer.

"It’d be foolish not to at least rule him out as a suspect," Chip reasoned.

While Grant was living in Michigan, he used the name David St. Clair.

Detectives are hoping to get a DNA sample from Grant. They would like to compare his DNA with a strand of hair that might have belonged to the Oakland County Child Killer.

I'm Average Joe


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

son of a bitch starve this cunt in his cell, i will pray for families

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Anonymous said...

He was found to be the killer of the children. You should def read Chip's book, The Butterfly Garden. It talks about his life with his father. It is an amazing book!!

Charlotte said...

this is crazy. first time i heard about this was in a history class a couple semesters ago at OCC. creeped the f**k out of me too. but... i just think this is insane. whoever did this should be taken out and shot.

Kat said...

I was a child the same age as the victims at the time of these killings, I lived in a neighboring county but it was still scary. My parent's wouldn't let us out of their sight. This unsolved mystery still haunts me correct one of the comments left here, THIS IS AN UNSOLVED CASE,
You need to read the book The Snowman's Children by Glen Hirshberg. It's a fictional book laced with the emotions and drama of these crimes....Glen grew up in Oakland county at the times of the murders also, and he too is haunted by these murders...

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FryingPanHead said...

I still think it was Busch. Too many things fit including the white animal hairs and the picture of Stebbins. Not to mention the murders stopped when he died.

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